"We had seen God in His splendors, heard the text that Nature renders. We had reached the naked soul of man"
- Sir Ernest Shackleton
Imperial Trans Antarctic Expedition: The Original Film Reel - with sound!
Edited and compiled by the very talented Pete Vassilakos, this short 21 minute film depicts the harrowing ordeal of Shackleton's Imperial Trans Antarctic Expedition. The original black and white film reel captured by Frank Hurley, the legendary expedition photographer, was saved by the expedition at the cost of abandoning valuable food for their ultimate survival. The full version of this movie "South" can be bought from the British Film Institute shop. The DVD includes over an hour of additional footage highlighted by the original music score.
Below you will find two very rare Edison Amberol four-minute recording of Shackleton's voice. Recorded in New Zealand, a week after his return to civilisation, he summarises the achievements of the British Antarctic Expedition 1907 - 1909: "We reached a point within 97 geographical miles of the South Pole; the only thing that stopped us from reaching the actual point was the lack of 50 lbs of food. Another party reached, for the first time, the South Magnetic Pole; another party reached the summit of a great active volcano, Mount Erebus. We made many interesting geological and scientific discoveries and had many narrow escapes throughout the whole time".
Shackleton made a second recording in 1910 which was issued on a double-sided 78 r.p.m. phonographic disc, the flip-side of which was a recording of Peary describing his expedition to the North Pole. In his second recording Shackleton recites one of his favourite poems: The Lone Trail by Robert Service.
The Lone Trail by Robert Service, adapted by Sir Ernest Shackleton.
And now like myself, they long to go again, they want to, they feel the wild calling them and the silent waists of the frozen south. And they want to be on the lone trail, the trail of the Canadian poet:
The trails of the world be countless, and most of the trails be tried;
You tread on the heels of the many, till you come where the ways divide;
And one lies safe in the sunlight, and the other is dreary and wan,
Yet you look aslant at the Lone Trail, yet the Lone Trail lures you on.
And somehow you're sick of the highway, with its noise and its easy needs,
And you long for the risk of the by-way, and you reck not where it leads.
And sometimes it leads to an Arctic trail, where the snow and your torn feet freeze,
And you whittle away the useless clay, and crawl on your hands and knees.
Sometimes it leads to the dead-pit; always it leads to pain;
By the bones of your brothers ye know it, but oh, to follow you're fain.
By your bones they will follow after, till the ways of the world are made plain.
Bond Street Bridge
The Explorers Club: Antarctica
"Songs from the stories of the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration. Captain Scott's British Antarctic Expedition and Sir Ernest Shackleton's Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition are remembered and celebrated through original folk songs".
Endurance Expedition Music
The following songs were popular in 1914 before the war, Shackleton's men may have listened to these on Sundays evenings upon the ice using their hand-cranked gramophone:
John McCormack – The Star Of The County Down
John McCormack – Ave Maria (Imagine listening to this onboard the Endurance, surrounded by crew of Endurance in total silence. Its powerful stuff)
John McCormack – When Irish Eyes Are Smiling
Ella Retford – Molly O'Morgan
Ella Retford – Ship Ahoy - All The Girls Love A Sailor
New Light Symphony Orchestra – Hearts & Flowers
John McCormack – Love's Old Sweet Song
Edward Lloyd – Come Into the Garden, Maud - 2012 - Remaster
Joseph Szigeti – Partitia No.3, BWV 1006: Prelude in E - 2012 - Remaster
Peter Dawson – Rule Britannia - 2012 - Remaster
On April 30th 1915, during a test run of one of the motor sledges, Shackleton and Worsley danced together on the ice floe - a one-step dance during a breakdown of the machine. Other members of the crew including Thomas Orde Lees sang the 'Policeman's Holiday':
The Policeman's Holiday
Music sang during Midwinter's Day, the Great Antarctic Festival (June 22nd, 1915)
George Marston: Widdicombe Fair and 'Johnny Hall'
Lewis Rickinson: 'Push It Under The Door'
Kerr & Greenstreet (duet): 'La Diddley Iddley Um'
Kerr (solo): The Spaniard That Blighted My Life (deliberately sang in the wrong key)
Chippy McNish: Scottish Dirges (we don't know exactly what songs Chippy sang but, he may have chosen something like this The Lass o' Arranteenie)
Songs sang by Tom Crean aboard the James Caird during the epic voyage:
The Mountains of Mourne
The Wearing of the Green
Song sang by Frank Worsley aboard the James Caird when he saw South Georgia for the first time after many days at sea
Bound For The Rio Grande